Monthly Archives: July 2011

An acceptance – Lek makes it in into Specter

My short story “Lek” was picked up by indefatigable twitterer Mensah Demary, at Specter Magazine.

The origins of Lek, the titular character, stem from my time living and working in Pattaya, Thailand, sex capital of Asia (if not the world).  I wish I could say Pattaya had much else going for it, but it doesn’t.  We didn’t stay long.  But I got an eyeful of the seamiest side of life there is out there while we were there.  I’ve got a couple other stories set there out in the world, but this is the first one to see the light of day.  As my writing shifts more and more to the gritty, I think there will be more to come.

Lek was rejected 6 times before it found a home.  It will appear in Specter in October.

Specter Issue Zero goes live about 1 hour from now, by the way.  Go check them out – there’s sure to be a truckload of writing worth reading.  There is also a blog of acerbic and insightful commentary.  Check ’em out.

I’m biased, of course, but I think they’re up-and-comers, and you’ll be hearing more from Specter in the not-so-distant future.

“It’s unrelenting.”

That’s what R. Thomas Brown very kindly said about my story, “Thirty Miles North of Cheyenne.”  I much appreciate it.  The story is meant to be dark, dark, dark, and so I guess I succeeded.  Thanks to R. Thomas for the mention.

"It's unrelenting."

That’s what R. Thomas Brown very kindly said about my story, “Thirty Miles North of Cheyenne.”  I much appreciate it.  The story is meant to be dark, dark, dark, and so I guess I succeeded.  Thanks to R. Thomas for the mention.

Rejections #211 & 212 – Digital Science Fiction and Pedestal

Digital Science Fiction has bad news.  Regretfully &c.

Pedestal – one of those places I’m going to crack one of these days, dammit! – enjoyed reading but &c.

Two acceptances (!) – Toad Suck Review and TKNC

Toad Suck Review took my story, “Saving The Pangolins.”  There are no pangolins in the story, but there is a semi-reformed eco-radical on the run and some murder and mayhem.  I’m sort of surprised a non-crime venue took the piece, actually.  Very pleasantly surprised.  “Saving The Pangolins” will appear in print in January.

Toad Suck used to be Exquisite Corpse.  In case you’re wondering about the strange name, here’s what they have to say about it:

Toad Suck: a name inspired by the ferry boat captains who’d bloat themselves like toads, sucking down beer while waiting for customers to cross the Arkansas River.

I can live with that.

And, over at Thrillers, Killers, ‘N’ Chillers, my story “Thirty Miles North Of Cheyenne” went live yesterday.  You know the kind of Western where the ladies just get their petticoats rustled and the hero comes on top (maybe a couple of his buddies buy it)?  Yeah, that sort of Western has never seemed very authentic to me.  “Thirty Miles North of Cheyenne” ain’t that. A sampler: 

“We been out in the hills a long time,” said the blackbeard to the cotton merchant. “So we’re going to take your girls here down to the creek. And the boy, too, come to think of it.”

The drifter from Arizona wiped his nose and sniggered.

“Now you, mister,” said the blackbeard, “You can be peaceable about it, and you all walk out of here. Even if some of you will walk a little cockeyed.” The rest of the gang sniggered. “Or you can get heroic and get shot. Up to you. Either way we take your girls, and your boy, down to the creek.”

To be honest, I wasn’t sure this story would ever find a home.  It is, shall we say, morally questionable.  My buddy Brad Green described it as “pure larceny lacking any moral center.”  He’s right.

So thanks to Col over at TKNC for posting it.

Rejection #210 – elimae

elimae liked the writing, but it just wasn’t right for the mag.

Too bad, too, because it’s the last straight literary story I have the in the pipeline, so it’s unlikely I’ll be submitting there again in the near future.  I’m on to crime, fantasy, and SF.  Probably should pick a focus, but they’re all so damn fun.

If you start lying to your kids at a very young age, when are you going to stop?

Well, when?

I make sure my daughter (age 3) loses regularly at Candyland.  (Truth learned: you aren’t going to be a winner every time.  And – losing sucks.)

I don’t tell her she writes like Shakespeare when her little “F” looks like a mangled strand of DNA.  (Truth learned: it takes a lot of hard work to get better at something, particularly something difficult, like learning to manipulate a pencil in your chubby little 3 year old hands.)

I don’t tell her there are unicorns up in heaven with God.  (Truth learned – fairy tales are fairy tales.)

I read stories to her every night.  (Truth learned – stories don’t have to be true to be wonderful.  In fact, the best stories are the ones which aren’t true.  That’s why they’re stories.)

She knows that everyone she knows is going to die, and so is she.  (Truth learned – everyone she knows is going to die, and so is she.)

*Corollary truth: The delicious, delicious meat she eats comes from dead animals.  (Truth learned – The delicious, delicious meat she eats consists of dead pigs, cows, fish, chicken, and lambs.)

She knows the stork didn’t drop her little brother down the chimney. Mom and Dad doing the deed got that job done.  (Truth learned: Sex exists. To which she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to playing. She doesn’t give a shit. She’s 3.)

She knows Dad doesn’t know everything, and sometimes doesn’t know shit.  (Truth learned – No one knows everything.  Question everything.  Including yourself.)

I feel I will have done my job as a parent if my kids go forth into life with very, very sensitive bullshit meters.  If they’ve got that, I don’t worry about their self-esteem.  Their self-esteem will be just fine.

H/t Dead End Follies.

Rejections #203-209: Dirty Noir, Shimmer, South Dakota Review, Jobbed, Electric Spec, Black Warrior Review, Pulp Modern

Doc O’Donnell, Senior Editor at Dirty Noir, looks to be the reigning king of personal rejections.  8 full paragraphs about why my latest submission wasn’t going to work at Dirty Noir.  Eight!  That’s some fucking overtime, man.  Needless to say, I’ll be taking another shot at it soon.

Shimmer, damn you, continues to tantalize with another nicely worded personal rejection.  At one point, E. Catherine Tobler referred to one section of the story thusly: “This felt like a skillet over the head.”  I appreciate the honesty, and I can handle it, believe me.  Given that I’ve got 209 rejections in under a year, no doubt she’s not the only one.  I really like Shimmer.  I’d really like to be in.  I’ll keep working on it.

Pulp Modern ain’t buying what I’m selling, but asked for more.  So I complied.

My story does not meet the needs of Electric Spec at this time.

Black Warrior Review has read my submission &c.

Jobbed will pass.

South Dakota Review thanks me &c.

Only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted.

The cold seething black heart of capitalism, from Glenngarry Glen Ross.

If you haven’t seen this 1992 flick, you owe it to yourself to get on the stick and do so.